SILK INSPIRE 2018 : Inspire, passion and photography


I was lucky enough to be a participant of SILK INSPIRE 2018, a photography festival organised by SILK PHOTOS. The first installment of this festival was organised in 2016 and it was all about inspiration, the 2017 version was all about diversity and this year, it was all about photography as a whole including topics like gender equality, art, copyrights etc. The 3 day seminars were held at MLR convention centre J.P. Nagar, Bangalore and all the workshops were held at CoWrks, New IndiraNagar, Bangalore. SILK INSPIRE is the brainchild of Sephi Bergerson and it would be unjustifiable if I go forward with this article if I don't show my gratitude towards him. So, first of all, a million thanks to Sephi Bergerson for organising and executing this wonderful event flawlessly. Those who don't know who this man is, let me give you a quick introduction. Sephi, is a very passionate  and talented documentary photographer, who was born in Israel and moved to India after his marriage by 2002. If you want to know more about him, please do visit https://www.sephi.com 



There were speakers from across the globe who gave us an insight into the different styles and approaches between photographers. The organisers also gave us an opportunity to interact with these professionals who are otherwise very difficult to meet in India. Below are the speakers, who shared their thoughts and experiences during SILK INSPIRE 2018


If you are not sure who the speakers are then feel free to go through each speakers descriptions (click on the name) to know what they are upto these days. 

I was very excited and pumped up and flew down to Bengaluru to attend the event and meet these professionals and my fellow participants. Day 1, October 3rd, I fought through the maddening traffic of Bengaluru city and reached JLR Convention Centre at JP Nagar, just at the nick of time. I rushed to collect my Entry pass and goodies after submitting my participation booking and ID proofs. Here I was amazed to see people not only from across the country, but from across the globe. Here I met Ms. Natasha Gillet, a renowned wedding photographer, based out of Bangkok, Thailand. This was mind blowing. She had just come over to experience the event. This is when the magnitude of the event really hit me. If you wish to see Natasha's amazing works for yourself, feel free to visit her website www.natashaigillet.com.

Natasha I Gillett
https://www.natashaigillett.com
Blair deLaubenfels
Co-Founder of Junebug Weddings
As I occupied my seat in the hall, I could see Mr. Sephi taking centre stage, to welcome the gathering to this year's SILK INPIRE. The opening session was by Ms. Blair DeLaubefels, whose main are of focus is art, life & business. She shared her intense passion towards photography, her past and her vision towards photography as an art. With an experience of over two decades,Ms. Blair helps  photographers and other members in this industry to get more grip by curating their work, and also helps in building a better customer service by providing different marketing strategies. She focused on asking ourself "What if"s which could help us to get to the next step and asked to get inspired by ourselves.

The next session was by Tshepiso Mazibuko, who was born in South Africa. She is inspired by her own enviroment and started with her photography projects when she was in school. She considers photography as a medium of art to express the influence that the political & social set up have on  people who live close to her. She tells stories by documenting her own township. She mainly shoots using film and black&whites to give more importance to the emotions and feelings. She takes time to study the subject and lives with them before taking images, which gives her an extra punch to her images. Rather than being an outsider and shooting images, she becomes an insider to tell the stories with emotions and feelings. She talked about how we could be more friendly and be an insider while we shoot images. She also spoke on how difficult it was for her to go out and shoot in the male dominant photography field.  
Tshepiso Mazibuko

Right after the session we broke for Lunch break and had a wonderful lunch from HardRock Cafe.  Since it was the first day of the event, everyone was keen to visit the sponsor counters. Sony, FujiFilm, Adobe, Oodio, KitKarma, ShootProof, Photoquip, Drobo, Image Salon, Pixellu, LuminHouse were the sponsors this time. Most of them had small open counters at the Event which helped the participants to get and feel the products they provide. One of the major attraction was the latest Fuji XT-3, & GFX-50s medium format camera at the FujiFilm stall. Sony, Oodio, Photoquip, etc were also displaying their major products which gave us a hands own experience to those products. The counters were totally swarming with participants as every one was so excited to see and get introduced to the latest technologies & products. The excitement was such that,Sephi had to come over to the stalls / experience area and ask everybody to get back into the floor for the next session.
Arun
Area Sales Manager FujiFilms ( Kerala & Karnataka )
Smita Bhatt
Chief Sales Officer & Co Founder of Oodio

Mr. Victor Lax was the next one to share his thoughts and ideas. He talked about the strengths and weaknesses the we possess. Being a destination wedding photographer from Spain he loved to tell stories through his photographs. He talked about the importance of unrepeatable moments that happens in front of us, in each moment of our lives. His photographers blew us away, some of them were so strong that I felt transported to that particular moment. 

Chenthil Mohan
Chenthil Mohan ,who is a Fujifim X photographer, shoots anything from wedding to funeral and everything in between. He has an inclination towards sports photography particularly cycling . You can follow him on Instagram, Weddings by Chenthil ( @candidmyass) and ChenthilMohan ( @sports_anonymous ). He is a very talented person and his work speaks a lot about it. He shoots basically with the Fuji X systems, and he owns XT1, XT2 and the latest XT3. He came up on the stage as a Fuji ambassador to show us the new XT3 and talked about the camera's technologies  as well as highlighted the specialities of the same. The XT3 was impressive considering its very small size. Combined with the block lens 23mm F2 R WR lens its a bomb. You can shoot anything with that combination and its just a pocket size camera. Although the sensor is APS-C ,the image quality is mind blowing. The camera has 11fps with standard and 30fps with electronic shutter. Hoping to get one of these soon.

This was followed by a panel discussion about the challenges women face in this male dominant industry. This was a wonderful discussion which triggered lots of curiosity as well as it kept us all thinking. This marked the end of the first day. As I was really tired, I headed back to my hotel room, took a shower, checked out the goodies I received from the venue and then went to sleep.
Sam Hurd

The second day started with a bang, it was Sam Hurd. He started off with the importance of using photography as a mode of story telling. Sam is into creative wedding photography, and his images speaks a lot about emotions and creativity. His techniques are so quite simple yet the images are extraordinary. Please visit his website https://www.samhurdphotography.com to learn more about his images and tastes. During the presentation he talked about the importance of observations and asked to teach ourselves to be more comfortable with discomfort. This would enable us to take more creative images in dull and boring indoors and the end product would be a stunning set of images.

This was then followed by Ronicka Kandhari, who played a key role in breaking the male dominant photography industry with her images. She plays around with emotions and candid nature of  photography to express her styles.

Badal Jain then took over the stage with his extravagant weddings and told us stories about how people spend huge amount of money to do wedding around the world. He was a journalistic back in the day and was attracted to the wedding industry. He is in the industry for almost 30+ years.

Next it was the time for Sony to introduce its latest technologies, and it was Rafique Sayed who came on the stage to represent Sony. The floor was restless and everyone was discussing amongst themselves about the previous sessions. Rafique Sayed started to show his images which were shot with Sony a7RIII. Suddenly the floor went silent and everyone was glued to the images. The images did all the talking for Rafique. Everything was in black and white, and some were so compelling and thought provoking. I would highly recommend all to visit his website http://www.rafiquesayed.com or his instagram ( @rafique_sayed ) to see his work.

Susana Barbera is an International reference in documentary wedding photography who specialises in black and white photography. She has bagged a lot of wedding photography awards. She was so unreal and all her images were fabulous. She talked about the importance of black and white photography. She mentioned that the black & white images lasts for centuries to come, as its timeless.  This session ended with a wonderful music, and she pulled the crowd on to the stage to sing and dance with her. She was such a wonderful lady. The day ended with that. And we all went back to our nests.

I was waiting for the third day to come, to meet the one of the legends in the photography industry. Joe McNally, who is an award-winning photographer who has assignments across the globe (in more than 70 country). Check his work, and get inspired. He was also named one of the top 5 online influencer in this industry. He talked about his career, how he started and how he still manages to be part of this industry. He challenges himself in every project and makes it better everytime. Do visit his website and blog https://blog.joemcnally.com to understand his work flow and get inspired.

Joe McNally

Tasneem Alsultan was the next speaker on stage. Tasneem was born in the US to Saudi parents and did her education in the UK. She focused on human rights specific to gender and social issues in Saudi and the Gulf region. She is also into wedding photography and also frequently takes up National Geographic assignments. She talked about the difficulties she faced as a female photographer in the male dominant industry, as well as the rules of her country which are very strict. She had to cross a lot of barricades to fulfil her dreams as a photographer.

Alan Berg is an International speaker and an expert in business with the wedding industry. He came on to the stage to ignite our minds with how to do business and gave us ideas on how to boost our business. He explained about the different methods to follow to break a deal. His ideas were strong and we, wedding photographers, should follow it to crack some business. Its for everyone, be it a beginner or an experienced person, it will help us to elevate to the next step. Alan is the author of the books “If your website was an employee, would you fire it?”, “Your Attitude for Success”, “Shut Up and Sell More Weddings & Events!”, and his upcoming, much anticipated book “Why Don’t They Call Me? 8 Tips for Converting Wedding & Event Inquiries Into Sales.” ( You can get it from Amazon.in )
Alan Berg
We then had a panel discussion with Sephi and his team. The main points discussed revolved around copyrights.  Abhilasha Nautiyal, an attorney from Ira Law (www.ira.law) enlightened us about the different types of copyrights laws we have in India. She talked about artistic works, and laws around it. And there were moral right and different types of contracts along with different licensing which were the main topics discussed. It was a great discussion and we all had a great time learning new things. 
Abhilasha Nautiyal
Silk Inspire was an inspiration for me, as I met a few top notch professionals leading in the wedding industry. Amar Ramesh (https://studioa.amarramesh.com), Anbujawahar (https://www.chenthil.in), Chentil Mohan (https://www.chenthil.in), Amal Roy (http://www.amalroyfilms.com), Neeta Sankar (http://www.neetashankar.com), were a few of them whom I met in person at the Silk Inspire venue. I was able to spend some quality time with them. They were super cool and inspiring. Also these professionals do conduct sessions where one can take a lesson or two.  If you are into photography and want to be part of the Evolve program by StudioA click here. I can guarantee that this session will change the way you see photography and definitely improve by at least 100 times. This session covers mostly everything from photography, cinematography, branding, editing, album making, client relationship etc. Do give it a try if you are an aspiring photographer. Neeta Sankar is one amongst the photographers who came into lime light during early 2010. She specialises in weddings and portraits, and is now the official brand ambassador of GODOX. She also does workshops, follow this space ( Click here ) to get updates about the workshops she does.
Amal Roy, Anbujawahar, Amar Ramesh, Chenthil Mohan ( Left to Right )
Anbujawahar
Amar Ramesh
Amal Roy


What did I learn from this edition of Silk Inspire ?
  • How to represent yourself with photography.
  • Inspiration for getting better shots.
  • Learn more by observing others photography, and not just in one genre. Look for inspiration every where. 
  • Get comfortable with discomfort and manage to get better. 
  • Shoot even in dull rooms / interiors to get award winning shots. 
  • Write to clients and keep them engaged. 
  • How to keep your business rolling. 
  • Copyrights and the laws involved. 
  • How to give space for others to grow and help everyone while growing together. 
Three days of discussions, meet ups and fun filled moments. There were hands-on  training / workshop sessions during other 3 days too. I heard from my friends who were able to participate
that these sessions were amazing. Unfortunately I was not able to be part of the workshops this time, however I would like to attend the workshops next year. 

I strongly recommend the Silk inspire for all the people who are in this industry. This is a place where we can learn about photography, meet highly talented artists and it would definitely improve your perspective and your photography. Hence I would request you to share this with your photographer / cinematographer friend, let him climb the ladder of success. 

*All the pictures were taken using Sony α7III ( 35 mm full-frame ) with ZEISS Batis 85mm f/1.8 Lens for Sony E Mount.

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Rahul Devakumar
Creative Media Studio

We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.

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